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& Other Unnatural Disasters

A WCC Poetry Club Anthology Edited by Tom Zimmerman

Love & Other Unnatural Disasters A WCC Poetry Club Anthology | Edited by Tom Zimmerman Email: Website: This book was produced on a Dell PC using Microsoft Publisher. The fonts are Corbel and Eras Bold ITC, and the front- and back-cover graphics are from Microsoft Clip Art. Book design by Tom Zimmerman. This digital version Copyright Š 2013 by the individual authors. Republication to the works herein are reverted to the creators of those works. The works herein have been chosen for their literary and artistic merit and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Washtenaw Community College, its Board of Trustees, its administration, or its faculty, staff, or students.

Contents Diane M. Laboda

Michael Moriarty Simon Mermelstein

Nia Hallom unanamouse Mallory Wayt J.S. Sheldon Ferguson Tom Zimmerman

Love’s Music Love Love 2 All I Need Like Boyfriend boyfriend boyfriend boyfriend boyfriend If You Only Knew Love and Other Unnatural Disasters Dirt Meditation on Fire Love Burnt Tranquil Mind Night Setting In Portrait Blurring (Not Another) Love Song

3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 12 13 14 14 15 15

zetataurus press | ann arbor mi |

Diane M. Laboda Love’s Music Sounds reverberate unhinged, streaming out of the stream, colliding outward into you, caressing softly into me, making heart-marks, bruises sweetly denting the dark recesses where your words reside, asking them to fly away, asking them not to sentence me to hate my own margins, not to paint this new composition with bandages of black space, negative asides and crushed notes, blue notes, staccato barbs stinging my forgiveness. I can’t breathe the jumbled air while lumbering waves wash over our sea of love threatened with elimination, collapsing on the floor between us, swept under the indoor-outdoor carpet and sucked down the sewer.


Diane M. Laboda Love If you come to me naked I will strip you bare of your skin and mark the depth of your love. If you balk at my probing I will cast you aside in the shallows of mediocrity, no longer worthy of pretense. I don’t want narrow words or sibilant sentences that catch in your throat like wads of distrust. I want melodies. I want to dive into your heart rhythms and never come up for air. Flowing forever in your veins, a balm amid the carnage.


Diane M. Laboda Love 2 If you place your heart in the hands of strangers you may find a haven, but I warn you of butchers who lurk in the shadows. If you keep your heart to yourself, no one will hear its rhythm or dance to your tunes or feel your breath lift the tides. I don’t know which you’ll choose, but I cannot ignore your need or walk away from your eyes that bid me enter your starlit night. I will follow in your wake awhile and listen for a gentle beat that tilts the axis of my arms toward your splendid sun.


Michael Moriarty All I Need My eyes – an umbrella ripped inside out in the wind. The kindling of my limbs spilling into the fire pit. The kind glance of a woman. To make her laugh. The bows diving over all my cracked violins. A brother. His ragged amble over the fire with me. Words in our pockets are stones to skip in a lake. Lakes in our dreams are heavens that only exist while we both still live. This moment I wonder where he is. A single blackberry weaving its sigh into my cheeks. The sun glowing like a crashed Cadillac. Some song in the basin of a mother’s cupped hands. Some silence in the libraries of a father’s good rest. A final end. Something like Cee Lo said, I’ve got to die once to never ever die again. God’s great work of erasure. Till all that’s left is palette and canvas. Then the rattle as something collapses. A daydream of holding my love before a kitchen window. Days unfolding like a magnolia’s lit blooming – sweet – easy. Imagining this – to sing to my son who I might never see. To tell him – I love you, and her, and this thing called poetry. An understanding – it’s all vanishing. The condition necessary for there to be anything. That means, gratitude. That means hold them even harder because they are dying and that includes the jackknifed heap of ventricle and vein you generously call a life. 6

A song on my lips and maybe someone to sing with. My terrible wings. My rattled machines. The asking of come with me littering the grass like dry leaves and pulled weeds. A daydream, bent grain, tired mountains, nothing to be. A good joke, cracking in my sides like an axe in an oak. My skull, empty of names, and myths, and photos, and places to go. My skull, an empty vase to arrange a bouquet of space in. My last grasping, the way she smiled at me. The one thing I won’t easily let go. Fill my brain with holes where sky can pour its most blue forgetting. It has to be this: rip me to tendon and lost cells and ghost or leave me this one thing – just one thing to hold.


Simon Mermelstein Like There’s nothing like a good like. Not love, not yet, just like, just a placeholder for feelings TBD. It takes the rush out of crush. “I like you.” “I like you too.” “I like you a lot.” I bite my tongue sometimes when I feel too early. Sometimes she bites it for me and I don’t have to. Sometimes it just plops out anyway, those three words, saliva slippery and hot with racing breath, and then there they are, just out there, ringing like a gunshot, too bright for this darkened room. Like is protection and prudence. Like is the condom. Like is only common sense. Like is a bridge wide enough for two and long enough to end in the sea.


Simon Mermelstein Boyfriend boyfriend boyfriend boyfriend boyfriend What am I gonna do with this lovesick all over like vomit or some other bodily fluid? Swallow down. Jerk off. Jerk off again. Always boyfriend. Every time my ears perk up it’s boyfriend this and boyfriend that and not boyfriend me. You’re interested in interesting things? What a coincidence, so is my boyfriend, like a signal, maybe I wear single around my neck like a cat’s bell and I know it’s rude to pounce but it’s valentines and I’m last in line and it’s getting time to think about wife and rest of your life and real estate and ain’t life great don’t wanna wait. Target acquired and from a distance admired but that one word I want so much will tie my hands and clog my glands and block my pores and silence roars I’m eternally yours.


Nia Hallom If You Only Knew If you only how I felt about you, You would know When I see you walking down the hall, I melt. Every time you say hi, I smile. I wish you weren’t a mile away. When you’re around me, my heart pounds fast. I hope our friendship lasts. I think to myself And wonder if you know My feelings for you, Even though your last girl was horrible. Well, don’t punish me for it. Just sit and think, Do you feel the same way about me? I want you to know, I wish you knew The way I felt about you.


unanamouse Love and Other Unnatural Disasters Love in my mind is overrated. . . . It gets boring at times and isn't the most exciting. When you discover the misfortune that has befallen your neighbor and nobody knows what happens, then that is an unnatural disaster. Then there is a chance for a potential mystery. Love has the potential to be an unnatural disaster, though. . . . When you finally get with a girl and you think you love her, and then she goes and cheats, gets with your brother, or says it’s over. . . . Now that is an unnatural disaster. Because you didn’t sign up for all the heartache and trouble.


Mallory Wayt Dirt I am dirt soft, inert: Hit me and it will not hurt. Legs may grow from under skirt. I may laugh and I may flirt, but I’m just a pile of dirt: Hit me hit me. It won’t hurt.

Meditation on Fire I have not the time of day nor the fortitude of mind to begin to tell you all of the many things I find when I stare into the fire of the candle, of the hearth ‌but if I had to sum it up: all is Death, and, samely, Birth.


J.S. Love Burnt after much tenderizing, braising, searing and then finally throwaway crisp.


Sheldon Ferguson Tranquil Mind Silently I Ponder on top of hill During warm spring Morning in peaceful thought And tranquility of mind Night Setting In Sun setting in Wooded briars as daylight Closes to an end Duskiness fills the night air Stars twinkling in the heavens


Tom Zimmerman Portrait Blurring The mirror’s crying—no, not you, old friend. Beloved books, so neatly stacked, begin to slide, tectonic plates much like your mind’s remainders buckling into scoured peaks and shadowed valleys. Drift. You’re passing through your life, a fallen leaf that rides upon a darkened stream that morphs to Underground. The names of stops fly by: there’s Senior Prom, then Graduation, Marriage, Birth of Son, Promotion, Birth of Daughter, Cancer in Remission, Honorary Doctorate, A Mistress You Acknowledge, Dividend Disbursement, Golden Anniversary. The train keeps rolling. Other passengers are drunk. And now they’re fucking. Eating one another. Why does no one nibble you? (Not Another) Love Song No violins, piano, bass, or drums. Just me, with my old mournful croak that thrums between my ears and into yours. Off-key despite the lessons. Better in the free and steamy space of shower-time with you. Or in the woods with falling snow or dew that soaks our shoes. A heart is buried there, beneath the moss, cadaver-hulled. Or square within a live oak’s rings, a spirit pegged by jealous witch, which is to say I’ve begged and borrowed, stolen all these tropes and rhymes in hope of song, the paradox that chimes inside us. Branches rub and creak above. A cardinal flies up, sky-blue as love. 15

Love & Other Unnatural Disasters WCC Poetry Club | Washtenaw Community College | Ann Arbor MI

zetataurus press | ann arbor mi |

Love & Other Unnatural Disasters  

A chapbook anthology by the WCC Poetry Club, at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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